Saturday, October 04, 2014

The People’s Climate March from the voice of the people


CCPCMLotSNews of the People’s Climate March (PCM) got headlines all over the world, except Rochester, NY, of course.  As a matter of fact when I mentioned that I went to the march to an acquaintance she said, “How nice that must have been for you folks who believe in global warming.” (It’s as if those of us in this special club of science lovers had a great big party for ourselves. Ya gotta laugh.) Local media has so much to account for, for not messaging this worldwide crisis.  

Admittedly, the PCM efforts to get Rochesterians to the march got some press before the event. Not much ((as some mentions (below) were letters to the editor and our own coverage of ourselves)) given the enormity of the march but some nevertheless.

  • Connections: Climate Change “Coming up on September 21, the People’s Climate March takes place in New York City. The organizers describe the event as the largest single event on climate ever organized. The march is designed to get the attention of world leaders about the issue. Our guests today will tell us about the march and discuss the issue of climate change: Susan Spencer, Ph.D. candidate at RIT, Susan Smith, Dr. Abigail McHugh-Grifa”
  • People’s Climate March |Coalition recruits climate marchers  On September 21, hundreds of thousands of people will march through Manhattan to show leaders from around the world, particularly US politicians, that the American public supports and demands action on climate change. (September 3, 2014) Rochester City Newspaper
  • Rochester group to join climate march Early on the morning of Sunday, Sept. 21 — very early — people will filter into a parking lot in Pittsford and board a bus. Their intended destination? A future that’s a little less overheated than it otherwise would be. The Sept. 21 bus-riders from the Rochester area, and others who will travel by train and car, will be among several hundred thousand people expected to descend on New York City that afternoon for an event known as the People’s Climate March. Participants hope to focus attention on the need for the United States and other countries act more aggressively to reduce emission of the greenhouse gases that are altering the Earth’s climate. The protest march is timed to bring pressure on international leaders attending a climate summit two days later at United Nations headquarters in Manhattan. More than 100 people from the Rochester area are expected to join in. (September 8, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
  • Rochesterians Prepare for Climate March in NYC A group of Rochesterians are headed to the Big Apple to take part in a historic march.  The Rochester “People’s Climate Coalition” is organizing a trip to send about 200 people to the “People’s Climate March” in New York City on September 21st. The coalition is made up of several local organizations and agree that climate change and carbon emission reduction are two of the most serious issues facing us today.  “Locally we want to raise awareness about the concern our community feels about climate change. and the speed with which organizations have come together and the number of people who are going down to the march speaks to the concern that does exist here in Rochester addressing climate change,” said Sue Smith of the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition.  (September 9, 2014)
  • “The local chapter of the Sierra Club staffed the Community Tent. Holly and Frank discussed Sierra Club programs and the upcoming People’s Climate March in New York City.” (9/08/2014The Monroe Village Farmers’ Market News)
  • Our press conference was videotaped and is now available on our hub site. Please distribute the press release web address to everyone on your distribution lists, your websites, and when you talk to the media.  We cannot depend on historical media to message Climate Change, an issue they’ve completely failed us on.  There’s a reason why so many in the public still deny Climate Change science and how it will affect our region and how our leaders must respond to it.  So we have to become the media.  You all have spoken eloquently and put much effort and concern into your statements.  Please don’t let this evaporate; this chance will not come again anytime soon.
  • Letter to the editor: Why march for the climate? “Is the People’s Climate March in New York City on September 21 a waste of time? Even hardcore environmentalists are questioning the political efficacy of major street demonstrations to produce significant legislative action...” (9/17/2014) Rochester City Newspaper.
  • GUEST ESSAY: Why I’m going on the people’s climate march By Sue Staropoli is a wife of 48 years, mother of 6, grandmother of 11, volunteer facilitator for the Pachamama Alliance (9/18/2014) Brighton-Pittsford Post).

And much of this coverage occurred because those who thought waking up our leaders to take action on the mother of all problems contacted the media—not because our local media themselves thought this worldwide event might be newsworthy.

How about after the march?

For a moment, it would be interesting to find out what the participants in the march thought of it. Why did they go? (Trust me it wasn’t because those who boarded a bus at 2 in the morning and stayed up for 30 hours are particularly fond of this kind of endurance experience.) Many (non-local) talking heads, media pundits, and show hosts got their inordinately loud utterances shouted to the world as why they thought so many (400.000) individuals attended this historic event, but little from the marchers themselves. As you know, some networks seem solely preoccupied to talking to only themselves about issues they haven’t a clue about—Climate Change a noteworthy case in point.

In a democracy our media should find out what the people think, instead of what the media think.

Thankfully, there are sources where you can find out what participants thought of their participation in the biggest climate march in history. These sources, though, aren’t mainstream sources. First is the local People’s Climate March/Western New York hub page: WHY WE ARE GOING TO PCM. Then there’s a great article in “Happenings the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute” on the efforts of Hobart and William Smith Colleges (HWS) called: The Green Hand: HWS At The Climate March Of The Century. Finally (but not least, because zillions of folks using their social media have spread photos and stories of their experience) is the People’s Climate March Wrap-UP web page. This page hosts an almost endless string of ‘everything’ connected to that amazing day.

That’s not the end. Locally there’s an event to find out what folks in our region who went to the march thought about their experience and why it was so important to them. Come. Check this out CLIMATE MARCH REPORT TO THE COMMUNITY, WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 8, 2014 FROM 7-8 PM, Church of the Assumption, 20 East Avenue, Fairport, NY 14450.

Bring your friends, bring your media, and let’s not pretend the greatest gathering of folks concerned about Climate Change didn’t happen.

No comments: